TrackMania Racing

I have been having a blast with TrackMania the last few days. If you love arcade style car racing like I do, building your own tracks, cars and competing against millions of people world-wide, this is your game.
There are several flavors of this game and I have tried them all. Some will not work on some machines, so I will stick to the two that I know will work on Win 7, Win 8 and Win 10. Some of the others may work if you are running XP, and if you are a Linux fan, yes, you can get TrackMania on Linux via the software loader too. You can also get TrackMania on Steam (As I did) and then if you happen to get a version that will not work (As I did) you can request a refund from Steam (I did and I got it within a few hours).
So the two that will work on 7, 8 and 10 are TrackMania Nations Forever (Free on both Steam and from the website.).
 
 
 
And TrackMania United Forever which is the full version.
 
 

 

So, what are the differences in the two. Quite a bit. You can edit and create tracks in both versions. You can import cars and paint in both versions. You will not have access to the advanced track editor and the ability to play in Stunt Mode, Platform Mode, Race Mode or Puzzle mode. You may not believe it but there are millions of users world-wide of both games and you can play against any of them.
For me the advanced editor and the extra terrains and tracks was worth it. Less than $40.00 at the Nadeo site and just under $30.00 on steam.
I purchased the United version and then did a search on the web and found thousands of add-ons from fans, Nadeo and fanatics all around the world. Want to drive a Camaro?
Go to the Car Park…
And download one. There are instructions to tell you how to do it. It isn’t rocket science, just put the zipped car file in the correct directory and when you next start the game it is there for you to race with.
NASCAR fan? Yes, there is a base of NASCAR fans that hold races and have their own tracks you can add.
In the games the editors are built right in, you don’t have to search them out and pay more for them. Making a new track is very straight forward. Making your own car is not. If you are a modeler you can easily find the directions on how to do it, build it and then have it in the game. There is a module to paint cars, and the Zipped skins included with the model are in the DDS (Direct Draw) format and so you can get the DDS add-on for GIMP and edit or make new skins as you choose. In the paint editor you can simply unwrap the car and paint it a different color.
The Racing: The racing is pure adrenaline based arcade style. My son Josh got me playing an old DOS based game called Stunts (I still have it) and this game reminds me of that vastly updated for modern graphics and game play. Check it out on Steam or the Nadeo websites and I hope you enjoy it. Dell…

Roku TV

Roku TV

I saw a deal a few days back for a 32-inch HD TV from Walmart with built in Roku. TV, shipping and all came to barely over a hundred bucks and so it seemed like the next best thing to review.

A mention: I do not work for or get paid by any of the products I review. They are them, I am me. Just so you have that straight. I review what I want to try or own and because I am not doing it for any of these companies I say what is what.

Walmart: I was surprised to see the changes in on-line shopping for Walmart: Including free shipping and even accepting Pay Pal now, which made my checkout a breeze. I looked over the specs before I ordered. I was looking for a replacement TV for the living room. I was also looking to go down a few inches. Sometimes people buy bigger because bigger must be better, and sometimes bigger is not always better. I had purchased a 38-inch HD TV for the living room and it was a little overkill because it is not a big room. It completely dominated one wall. It was also about 5 years old and had lost one pixel that drove me crazy. 28-inch seemed too small, I saw the deal on the 32-inch and took it.

The television was supposed to arrived on a Saturday, it arrived a day early on Friday after work hours, which was nice, no worries about leaving it outside unattended. When I saw the box I thought maybe I had gone too small, after all the next size up was not much more, but after I pulled th TV out of the box I realized it had a very small trim area, whereas the old TV had a good 4-inch trim around the entire screen which made it look much bigger than it was. All in all I was happy with the look of the new TV, but how about the way it worked…

I had purchased a universal wall mount for the first TV and so it worked for this one. That made it a simple matter of taking down the old TV and installing the bracket on it and then hanging it back on the wall mounted bracket. The cables that need to be connected to a Roku included TV are less than the old TV. I would not need my FireTVStick as Roku can access my Prime membership: My Netflix Account, Hulu, CBS All Access, YouTube, Crackle and dozens upon dozens of other Apps. So I connected what few cables were needed and fired it up.

The Roku app is built into the TV and so it comes right up when you hit the power button. The first thing was to get it to recognize my router. Straight forward, except it will not allow you to use the WPS button on top of your router to connect without a password. You will need to know your password for your router, and of course, if you are in a semi city area as I am, and have the same cable company as your neighbors do, you will need to know which router on the list is your router. This should be easy to do. First the program will list the strongest signal on top. That should be your router. If not look at your router and find the routers number on it and then compare that to the list. Type in your router password and it will connect and keep your router connected.

Once connected I had to open a Roku account. Credit Card or Pay Pal. It was easy to set up. The Pay Pal or Credit card are because there are in app purchases. But don’t worry. You will assign a four digit pin during setup and without that no one, kids, can charge anything to the account. After setting up the Roku account the screen refreshed on my TV and I was ready to set up my home page.

The rest was straight forward. You should have all of your account information for your other apps that you already have, such as Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, Pandora etc. As you install each app it will list it on the home page which is where your TV Will start each time. I installed mine and then I noticed that it had the Antenna connection listed and so I decided to install that too for my local channels.

I had purchased the antenna and put it up a few years back but the TV had no RF connection, only HDMI and so without a converter there was no way to us it. I had purchased CBS All Access to get local news just for that reason. I connected the RF from the antenna and clicked the button. It found my local channels and added them with no problem.

When I finished I followed the directions to move my icons around so I had them lined up the way I wanted them. Done. Let the fun begin.

Previously I had had to use three remotes to get around in the TV. Now just the one suffices and there are even hot buttons for Netflix and a few other apps.

The picture, although smaller seems almost as big with the loss of the huge frame on the older TV. The Roku app loads fast and the search feature is very useful. It knows what you already have and so if you search for something that is included on one of your apps it tells you so; if not it tells you where you can get it. It searches by Actor, Movie etc. I searched, for instance, for Robert De Niro. It returned a picture of him and all of his movies. Amazing.

The picture quality is good. The Blacks are black, the streaming was excellent, no issues. The load when you first turn it on is about a minute, after that everything is right there. Once loaded, when you hover over antenna it will show you what is on whatever antenna channel you left it on. What was better is that my mother, who is in her eighties feels confident enough to turn it on and go find what she wants to watch. Previously she would leave the TV off until I came in and changed channels, because with the TV remote, Fire TV Stick remote and the cable remote she would get lost, frustrated and quit or have to call me. I eliminated cable because the shows she wants are on the local channels or Hulu, and with the Roku app everything is in one place.

All in all I think this is an excellent combination of products. It works well. It does exactly what it says, and that is tough to find these days. I recommend it, Geo Dell